Closure of Cottam plant in Nottinghamshire likely to lead to more than 150 job cuts
— One of the UK’s last seven coal power stations will close this year after half a century of generating electricity, as the polluting fuel continues its rapid decline in the energy mix.
EDF Energy said more than 150 jobs were likely to be cut due to the closure of the Cottam plant in north Nottinghamshire on 30 September.
The power station was no longer economically viable, the company said. Cottam has been hit by the costs of working to European environmental standards and the failure to secure a contract for payments supply backup power after September.
The UK government has pledged to end coal power generation in the UK by 2025 to meet its climate change commitments.
Just seven years ago, coal was a cornerstone of the energy system, providing more than 40% of electricity, but a series of closures in the face of poor economics have led to it tumbling to 5% last year. The most recent plant to shut was Eggborough in Yorkshire last year.
Gas and renewables have taken up the slack, as new windfarms have been connected to the grid.
Cottam started operating in 1969 and is capable of powering around 3.7m homes, though in recent years it will have been operating well below its maximum capacity.
EDF Energy, which bought the 2GW plant in 2000, said Cottam had performed well beyond its original 30-year lifespan due to investment and upgrades. But it said the closure was not a surprise.
“There has been an aspiration to move away from coal for a long time now and we have prepared thoroughly for the closure,” said Andy Powell, Cottam’s plant manager.
However, unions said they had been led to believe the plant would not be wound down until 2025.
Mike MacDonald, Prospect negotiations officer, said: “The premature closure of Cottam power station will be a huge blow to workers and to the economies of Worksop and Retford.”
The closure is understood not to be related to the suspension of the government’s backup power scheme, the capacity market, but primarily due to the lack of any contracts in the scheme beyond September.
After Cottam, EDF Energy will still have one 2GW coal power station at nearby West Burton. That plant has secured contracts for three of its four units until September 2021, implying it will run for another two years before powering down too.
by Adam Vaughan | The Guardian